WILKES-BARRE – King’s College and Wilkes University, long linked to the bookstore with a joint deal involving Barnes & Noble in what was once a Woolworth store near Public Square, announced new plans for their stores on campus on Wednesday.
In a nutshell, the two schools will open separate stores once the agreement with Barnes & Noble expires this fall. Here are the separate statements issued by King’s and Wilkes:
From Wilkes University President Greg Cant:
As you may know, our lease at the Barnes and Noble collegiate bookstore in downtown Wilkes-Barre is coming to an end. This collaborative retail store has housed Wilkes Bookstore for 15 years. Most importantly, he served as a key tenant in the development of South Main Street. I was delighted to learn about the history of this joint venture with King’s College and the economic activity it has helped inspire in our hometown. The success of Wilkes-Barre is paramount to the experience we offer at Wilkes. The revitalization of the downtown area remains a priority for our institution.
At the end of the lease, I am proud to announce our new plans. Starting this August, Wilkes University will once again have a bookstore here on campus.
The process began almost three years ago when the University conducted an in-depth assessment of the feasibility of an on-campus bookstore. In the fall of 2020, a committee of students, faculty and staff was formed to begin the process of identifying a supplier for our future needs. After a request for proposal and a thorough review process, the University is committed to continuing its relationship with Barnes and Noble. Their proposal was very impressive with cost savings on academic materials ultimately benefiting our students and physical improvements benefiting our campus. We have signed a five-year contract with Barnes and Noble which runs until 2026.
The Wilkes Campus Bookstore will be located on the first floor of the Henry Student Center in the current student lounge area. Many will remember a time when it was the permanent home of the bookstore. A renovated and expanded space at the heart of student activity will make it a practical and memorable place to serve our students.
Additionally, Barnes and Noble will support a variety of virtual needs. Whether ordering textbooks or reselling them, the store’s online presence will provide affordable, flexible and convenient options. 24/7 customer support will be available via phone, email and live chat.
Initial designs are being finalized and work will begin later this spring. The new store will be operational before the fall semester. Some staff offices, as well as the student government office and club center, will be relocated. More information on the impact of the construction on the student center will be shared with you in the coming weeks.
The project is funded in conjunction with Barnes and Noble whose proposal included a competitive financial contribution while meeting student-focused service goals. Hosting the bookstore on our campus can also create a small but additional source of ancillary income.
I would like to thank the members of our bookstore committee. Chaired by Alicia Bond, students Anna Culver and Kevin Long served on the committee, along with faculty members Ruth Hughes and Donald Mencer, and staff Mark Allen, Missy Howells, Justin Kraynack and Bryn Timlin. I would also like to thank the local and community leaders, past and present, who helped support this initiative in 2006 and until the end of our lease in 2021.
We will continue to share news with you in the coming weeks. We are also developing a web page which will allow us to follow the progress of the construction. Please stay tuned for updates.
From King’s College:
King’s College announced today that in August 2021, upon the expiration of the lease for the joint bookstore initiative undertaken with Wilkes University, it intends to establish a new King’s bookstore and a liquor store in the heart of the King’s campus, on the site formerly occupied by the S&W restaurant at 149 North Main Street.
The new location will open in August 2021. The College has selected eCampus, a well-respected online retailer of new, used and electronic textbooks for sale or rental, study materials and book buy-back services. to be its new supplier of manuals and materials. for the new location as well as the management of the campus store.
The joint venture between King’s, Wilkes University and other partners located on Public Square began in 2006. Over the next fifteen years, King’s continued to invest significantly in downtown WilkesBarre, including removing and rebuilding dilapidated and vacant properties; and injecting people, resources, and energy into the city center.
Some examples of these investments include the Alley Center for Health Sciences (formerly the Ramada Hotel at the northwest corner of the plaza), the Miners Memorial Park (in the plaza), the Mulligan Center for Engineering (formerly the Spring Brook Water Company on North Franklin Street), the Chapel of Christ the King at the George and Giovita Maffei Family Commons (formerly the Memorial Church on North Street), and the Reverend Thomas O’Hara, CSC, Hall (the former Mary Macintosh and Corcoran printing site on North Main Street).
The decision to return the bookstore to a location on campus is influenced by the changing model of college bookstores and the increasingly focused online delivery method for student-preferred educational materials, as well as the desire to have a Easily accessible retail space on campus to purchase clothing and liquor store items.
To facilitate this process, the College formed a Bookstore Selection Committee made up of members of the King community representing students, faculty, facilities, business operations, alumni and other key groups to solicit proposals. and review potential suppliers, and finally make a recommendation to administration for the new supplier. Suppliers who chose to submit proposals were evaluated based on ease of ordering, student experience (affordability, ordering, payment, delivery), faculty experience (adoption process, training , availability of resources), technology, confidence in tracking each supplier, and overall fit for King’s College. The committee unanimously approved eCampus as the College’s next partner in this area.
Vice President of Commercial Affairs, CFO Janet Kobylski commented: “As I worked with the eCampus management team during the negotiation process, it was evident that they were very excited to be part of the King’s College community and work with the College and students. “The best interests at heart. “
King’s College student Grace Joy Dacey ’23, a pre-physician assistant student who also sits on the student government executive council, was a member of the committee and represented student interests in the selection of the new provider. She said, “As a student at King’s College, I felt disconnected from our book and liquor store on campus. With our new plans for the bookstore, students will enjoy the benefits of high-quality spirit clothing, cheaper textbooks, and an on-campus experience. This bookstore will be fully geared towards King’s students and their needs. While on the committee, I represented my peers and their needs. Working with the committee has been one of the highlights of 2020 for me; the committee was able to help decide the future of the King’s College community.
Contact Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish